Health Awareness

Helping protect health from birth to adulthood

April 1, 2024

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Vaccines are one of the greatest public health success stories in history

They help protect against more than 20 potentially life-threatening diseases.

We recognise and support the many global health stakeholders, including the World Health Organization, for their efforts in raising awareness about the importance of vaccination and helping prevent infectious diseases around the world.

“Immunization is a global health and development success story…helping people of all ages live longer, healthier lives…It’s also one of the best health investments money can buy. Vaccines are also critical to the prevention and control of infectious disease outbreaks [and] underpin global health security…”

  • World Health Organization, 2023

Broader vaccination coverage along with other public health measures have eradicated smallpox and significantly decreased the incidence of other vaccine-preventable diseases.

Vaccine equity is a global challenge

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered unprecedented disruptions to vaccination programs around the world, resulting in the largest sustained decline in childhood vaccination rates in approximately 30 years.  

The pandemic also revealed underlying health inequities and reminded us of the importance of preserving trust in and advancing equitable access to vaccines.

Crowded street downtown

Global vaccination coverage dropped 5% between 2019 and 2021.

a child has a first aid plater on the harm

Between 2019 and 2021, the number of completely unvaccinated children increased by 5 million worldwide.

Recovering vaccination rates together

Now, more than ever, we have an opportunity to reimagine the role we all can play.

At MSD, our vaccines help prevent diseases affecting individuals around the world and across all stages of life, from infancy through older adulthood.

But, we can’t be successful alone. That’s why we are working with a variety of stakeholders to help build trust in vaccination and enable equitable global access to vaccination services for everyone who can benefit from them.

Through our work in vaccines, we are committed to helping protect people today and for generations to come.

a girl with her mother consult with a doctor

Globally, MSD and our legacy companies have a 130+ year history of innovation and commitment to helping prevent disease by discovering, developing, supplying and delivering vaccines.

To keep pace with the ever-evolving disease landscape, we go where the need is to find new ways to address complex public health problems. We continue to invest in groundbreaking research and breakthrough technologies to help protect against potentially life-altering vaccine-preventable diseases.


World Health Organization. Vaccines and Immunization. Available at: Accessed on: 28 March 2023

Greenwood, B. The contribution of vaccination to global health: past, present and future. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2014;369(1645):20130433

World Health Organization. Smallpox. Available at: Accessed on: 26 March 2023

World Health Organization. Smallpox Eradication Programme – SEP(1966-1980). Available at:—sep-(1966-1980) Accessed on: 23 April 2023

World Health Organization. Call to action: Vaccine Equity. Available at: Accessed on: 28 March 2023

UNDP Global Dashboard for Vaccine Equity Available at: Accessed on: 28 March 2023

Abrams EM & Szefler SJ. COVID-19 and the impact of social determinants of health. Lancet Respir Med. 2020(8):659-661.

Paremoer L et al. Covid-19 pandemic and the social determinants of health. BMJ. 2021;28:372:n129.

World Health Organization. COVID-19 pandemic fuels largest continued backslide in vaccinations in three decades. Available at: Accessed on: 22 September 2022

Perry BL, Aronson B & Pescosolido BA. Pandemic precarity: COVID-19 is exposing and exacerbating inequalities in the American heartland. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2021;118(8):e2020685118.

World Health Organization. 2022. Immunization Coverage. Available at: Accessed on: 21 September 2022

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Routine Vaccination Coverage – World wide, 2021. Available at: Accessed on: 20 March 2023

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overview, History, and How the Safety Process Works. Available at: Accessed on: 13 April 2021

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule United States 2023. Available at: Accessed on: 27 February 2023

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended Child and Adolescent Immunization United States Schedule 2023. Available at: Accessed on: 15 February 2023

NZ-NON-00403 TAPS: NP20725 Last Updated on March 2024